The Daily Moth 3-7-17

March 8, 2017

 

 

Wikileaks Releases CIA Hacking Techniques, House Republicans Propose Obamacare Replacement Bill, Chance the Rapper Donates $1 Million to Chicago Public Schools, Colonial-Era Skeletons Found in St. Augustine, and Canadian Hearing Society Employees On Strike 

 

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Hello, welcome to the Daily Moth! Today is Tuesday, March 7. Ready for news?

 

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Wikileaks just released over 8,500 files that shows how the CIA spies on people’s technological devices. It shows various tools that the CIA uses to hack into smartphones, computer operating systems, apps (such as WhatsApp, Signal, Confide), and even break through Samsung smart TVs and use it to record sounds when people thought the TV was off. 

 

I’m glad I use ASL to talk (no sound there). But apparently they can turn on the cameras, too.

 

It seems this leak is more damaging than Snowden’s leak — because while he exposed the U.S.’ extensive surveillance and spying program, this leak shows the blueprints of the hacking techniques — the methods, the codes, the steps. 

 

Wikileaks said they had more technical details — source code — of CIA’s “weapons” to break through other people/companies’ privacy, but was not publishing it until there was a general agreement on how to analyze, disarm, and publish the “weapons.” 

 

Wikileaks said the secret information was already circulating among former U.S. government hackers and contractors. They said they got the files from a source who wanted to ignite a public debate on if the CIA overstepped its authority. 

 

The files have just been published — and we might see more news reports and action from the U.S. government and the Trump administration in response to this. 

 

WSJ Article: http://on.wsj.com/2mxxYPg

 

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Republicans in the House have proposed their plan to replace Obamacare. Here are some details about the new bill:

 

*The individual mandate is removed — (the requirement for everybody to have health insurance or pay a tax penalty). 

 

*It allows insurance companies to charge people 30% more for insurance if they have a gap (a period of no insurance) when getting a new plan. 

 

*Insurance companies now can charge older Americans five times more than younger Americans — which is different from Obamacare — it only allowed three times the cost.

 

*Insurance companies can’t deny people if they have pre-existing health issues (like Obamacare).

 

*Young adults can stay under their parents’ health insurance plans until age 26 (like Obamacare). 

 

*Obamacare’s federal subsides to insurance plans would be replaced by individual tax credits. 

 

Tax credits will be granted based on age. 30 and under will get $2,000 a year, 30 to 40 $2,500 a year, 40 to 50 $3,000 per year, 50 to 60 $3,500 per year, 60 and over $4,000 per year. 

 

This is available to individuals earning up to $75k a year and up to $150k for married couples filing jointly. This is different from Obamacare, who did not give any subsidies to people who earned more than $48,000. 

 

*The Medicare expansion under Obamacare would be phased out by 2020. 

 

*Planned Parenthood can’t get reimbursements from Medicaid or from federal grants. 

 

[There are many more details and interpretations of this proposed bill, I encourage you to contact your insurance company or a professional if you have questions about how this bill might impact you.] 

 

The bill will go through several committees for revisions and if all goes smoothly, it will be introduced to the full House to vote — which could happen in the next two weeks. If it passes, it moves to the Senate. If it passes, then President Trump can sign it in law. 

 

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Chance the Rapper (musician) just donated $1 million to Chicago Public Schools (CPS). He announced it at a elementary school in Chicago — Chance grew up in Chicago.  

 

The donation has brought praise for Chance and attention to issues with public school funding.

 

Chance said he met with Illinois Governor Rauner last week where they talked about public education and other issues that impact Chicago and the state of Illinois. Chance said the talks were not successful. 

 

Chance said the governor was not fully committed to giving Chicago kids a “good opportunity” for education. The governor, in December, vetoed a $215 million bill to fund CPS — and without the money, CPS might have to end school 20 days earlier.  

 

Chance said the governor could use his executive powers to give Chicago children (400,000 of them) their God-given right to learn. Chance said, “Gov. Rauner, do your job!”

 

Chance called on others to help and donate to the school, saying CPS should not be held hostage because of political positioning. 

 

Chance said everybody and their momma knows the issues in Chicago, but that this will enhance the conversation.  

 

CPS’ funding seems to be a complicated issue in the Illinois state government — there are disagreements on where the $215 million funding should come from. Maybe Chance’s $1 million donation will push the politicians to come to a solution. 

 

http://trib.in/2lPjhTM

 

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In St. Augustine, Florida — archaeologists found the skeletons of seven people, including three children under the floor of a wine shop — and they think the skeletons are some of the earliest colonists in America. 

 

St. Augustine is the oldest European city-settlement, founded by the Spanish in 1565, 55 years before pilgrims arrived in New England. The city has the designation being the oldest city in the U.S. 

 

The skeletons were found after the owner of the wine shop decided to renovate the building after it was damaged by Hurricane Matthew last October. 

 

Before starting the renovations, the owner offered a city archaeologist an opportunity to look at what was under the soil underneath the wooden joists — and after a couple shovels, he found the bones and expanded the search area and found more. 

 

In total, it was one full adult skeleton, two adult skulls, a leg bone, and children’s bones. They think one of them is a younger European woman and one an African male. Some of them were in graves — it seems like bodies are buried there because there used to be a church on that location.

 

Very interesting. I grew up in St. Augustine (it’s where the Deaf school is) — and there’s many historical sites. You should visit the city someday! Be careful if you plan to dig, though. 

 

http://bit.ly/2mdj92d

 

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In Ontario, Canada — over 200 employees for the Canadian Hearing Society (CHS) are on strike. 

 

CHS is a large nonprofit organization that provides various services for deaf/hoh/deafblind/oral people in Ontario. CHS has 24 “offices/locations” across Ontario

 

CHS’ employees are a mix of both deaf and hearing people — the positions vary from counselors, audiologists, interpreters, speech language pathologists, and support staff. Almost all of the workers are on strike after talks broke down between CHS and the union. 

 

What is the issue? 

 

The union representing the workers — the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) — say they have been without a contract with CHS for four years. They say they have not gotten wage increases while the CHS leadership team has increases in wages.

 

The union wants increases in wages and to keep health benefits — namely the current sick-leave benefits. 

 

The CHS’ Vice-President, Gary Malkowski (deaf) — states employees “saves” the sick days for payout when they retire — saying it was a financial liability to the organization. 

 

CHS wants to  “modernize” the paid sick program by buying out the “unused sick days” and reduce the number of annual paid sick days available. 

 

CHS has also offered a retroactive wage increase for the past 3 years with an average of 2.5% wage increase. 

 

For the past couple months and last weekend the unions and CHS tried to negotiate a “new deal” with a mediator — but neither side could agree. 

 

The union walked away and started striking Sunday night. 

 

Yesterday morning the strikes continued with people picketing outside of CHS offices.

 

Many of the strikers said it was a difficult decision because they are themselves a part of the deaf community and use CHS services, but they are taking a stand. 

 

CHS leadership said they expected to reach a deal and are disappointed that the union has chosen to strike. They said they expect to continue to work to try and reach an agreement. 

 

So the strikes are going on and it’s impacted CHS services in Ontario. We’ll see what happens. 

 

For more information you can read local media articles and press releases from both CHS and the union. 

 

Local Media Article #1 http://bit.ly/2lTkOZ5

Local Media Article #2 http://bit.ly/2milvhP

CHS Press Release: http://bit.ly/2mBycFz

CUPE Press Release: http://mwne.ws/2n1ZiDk

 

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That is all for today. See you tomorrow and stay with the light!

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